Confronting leftist dominated institutions: The ABA and judicial appointments
By Bruce Walker
The Bush Administration is sending shots across the bow of institutions like the American Bar Association that have become partisan allies of the political Left. Liberals gravitate towards large, anonymous institutions behind which they can snipe at conservatives without risk. The American Bar Association has a long and honorable tradition in the our legal system, making it irresistible to persistent liberals.
Conservatives, who deplore liberal group-think, involve themselves in these sorts of non-ideological institutions because of private interests. Barry Goldwater, for example, was deeply involved in conservation issues long before environmentalism became politically correct and Native American culture before that had cachet. Unlike the rugged individualists of conservatism, liberals view every aspect of human existence as political. They burrow into big organizations with the intention of bending the common, principled mission to ideological advantage.
United Way, The League of Women Voters, American Psychological Association, National Council of Churches, American Association of Retired Persons, Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are among the many organizations were founded for good reasons rooted in noble intentions which have been captured by the Left. Few people oppose the stated missions of these groups: charity, citizenship, mental health, piety, maturity, nature, and civil rights. Most people, however, intuitively understand that ideologues have hijacked the good name of these sorts of groups.
There is only one way to handle the problem of these nominally "unbiased" organizations: direct confrontation. Lay a rhetorical Bill of Indictments against the organization, and force liberals and conservatives to choose sides. Liberals will overwhelmingly defend those institutions which they have effectively captured, and conservatives will not. The public will get the picture: Democrats and liberals uniformly say that the American Bar Association (or Sierra Club or the League of Women Voters) does not tilt to the Left, while Republicans and conservatives uniformly say that it does.
The triumphant of conservatism in the last thirty years owes much to someone who was not a conservative - Spiro Agnew. He supported Nelson Rockefeller, not Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan, for the Republican Nomination in 1968, but once in the Vice Presidency, Agnew saw the value of directly attacking blatant liberal bias in television.
After Agnew's 1969 Des Moines speech, the news media became quite self-conscious. Pundits could not pretend to be objective or impartial when they themselves were accused of bias. They could, and did, attack back. They could, and did, try to demonize their accusers. They could, and did, ignore attacks when they could. But because they were in the court docket themselves, the news media could no longer claim to be disinterested.
The American Bar Association is now facing the same direct confrontation, although from veterans of a long campaign against jaded liberalism. What can it do? The options are all negative. Denying the charge - and having only liberals agree with them - validates the premise of the accusation "Why do liberals say that the ABA is fair, and conservatives say that it is unfair?" Ignoring the charge is no longer an option for liberals, because conservatives have created many small, sturdy alternative outlets to counter the giant corporate and institutional dinosaurs of the Left.
That only leaves the ad hominem attacks. Destroying the accuser works well when the voices are isolated and unprotected, but conservatives have learned unity, theme, and image. We bring articulate black women to make our case when liberals say that we are racist or sexist. We bring smiling faces and pleasant voices when liberals say that we are mean spirited. We note liberal indifference to blatant lies and lurid corruption when liberals try to suggest our motives are unscrupulous. We have learned much over the last thirty years.
The sputtering, flustered voices are all on the Left. The basic amorality of modern liberalism makes crimes and sins much more common on one side of the ideological spectrum than on the other side. The people who look ugly, nasty, and brutish today are liberals. The creeps are Clinton, Rodham, Gore, Jackson, and the rest of the pampered, selfish lot.
Confronting liberal bias in organizations like the American Bar Association can de-fang the Left, but it can also cause thoughtful professionals to review what is happening within those associations which purport to represent them. Do lawyers really want the most prominent national organization of their profession marginalized? Conservative and moderate lawyers would resent that, but more than that, some liberal lawyers would as well.
The goal of committed Leftists has always been the perpetuation of animus, envy, and distrust. They do not seek society for its joys, but for its miseries. The more that conservatives force compromised institutions to heal themselves by shedding the baggage of ideologues or to be reduced to risible irrelevancy, the less likely the men and women who truly care about the mission and vision of the institution are to let it be hijacked.
Ultimately, voluntary associations like the United Way, Audubon Society, and American Association of Retired Persons are good things. People come together, share the social benefits of a free society, and contribute to the good of all without coercion. Corrupting them with political agenda not only helps the Left in its sinister mission, but it deprives conservatives of some of the natural roots of healthy community. The benefits of cleansing liberal intolerance out of these groups does more than just weaken the increasingly hollow arguments of the Left; it also strengthens the defenses of free people against collectivist oppression. Let us hope this process of confrontation continues.
Bruce Walker is a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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